Nonprofit Emergencies are Hard
Nonprofits tend to cruise along OK…until you hit a speed bump. If you're here, there's something big that needs to be handled, RIGHT NOW. Don't Panic. You’re in the right place.
How we approach conflicts and crisis:
I spent several years in-house at a large nonprofit and I'm a trained mediator. When I work with my team on a client emergency, our goals are:
✓ Minimize your lost time and money
✓ Help clients make clear decisions
✓ Reduce harm to the nonprofit
✓ Preserve your working relationships
It's a small world. The people in a conflict today may be potential funders or donors tomorrow. I can help you keep a clear head through difficult times, navigate situations with integrity and plan the way forward.
Things we can help with:
● Board and staff conflicts or removal
● Voting member disputes
● Financial fraud or theft
● Disagreements with key partners or outside groups
● PR nightmares
What clients say about working with us?
“This is the most thorough, but easy to understand email I've EVER read from a lawyer. THANK YOU!!!” – Mandi, voting member at an educational organization
“They were able to expedite my meeting and even get some quick advice the same day! The attempt to accommodate was refreshing and her advice was very intuitive to the situation and helped immensely!” – Bruce, Board member facing a time sensitive issue at a small nonprofit
“Jess knows [our staff] aren't administrators. She's patient. She works with them and helps them understand. At the end of the day it's not just about getting the job done, it's about helping them understand why we need to be where we're at.” – Ron, Public Finance Director at a national nonprofit
Jess surprised us. We already knew she was approachable and pragmatic. We arrived seeking legal advice (our questions were answered!) and left with additional valuable considerations for our business. Her depth is impressive. The frank discussion was well-worth the time.
Jess is great to work with - knowledgeable, flexible, and personable. She was a key player in helping my org through a difficult transition
Jess is a stellar example of what a lawyer should be. Client-focused, solutions-driven, responsive, beyond competent, and dedicated to her practice. I have had the pleasure of presenting with Jess at major national conferences, which means relying upon her as a partner to prepare written and spoken materials, and to be reliable, knowledgeable, and collaborative. She is all of these things. I would never hesitate to team up with her where my reputation is on the line. I have also witnessed firsthand Jess's dedication to her clients. We have worked intensely on the business of our firms together, and her client focus has taught me many things. Nowhere else will you find a lawyer committed to solving her clients' problems (whether that means hiring her or not) and making their experience in working with her enjoyable and rewarding. In the course of working together on projects, Jess has demonstrated her depth of knowledge of non-profit law, and I would not hesitate for a moment to hire her if the need arises. I simply cannot recommend her highly enough.
We are a start-up nonprofit, with years of experience in the for-profit world but knew we'd need a different approach to successfully navigate nonprofit requirements. Birken Law was great, Jess provided useful and reasonable help as we completed the incorporation process and then successfully applied for 501c3 status. Their help as we were drafting our mission, articles and by-laws ensured we properly communicated our charitable purpose. I appreciated Jess's transparent process and found their office to be responsive and customer-service focused. I'd recommend Birken Law to any nonprofit looking for a good legal partner.
Jess and the team at Birken Law provide outstanding service and have a wealth of knowledge on nonprofit law. Our nonprofit organization undertook an organizational merger - a complicated and time consuming matter - with another nonprofit organization, and Birken Law handled the matter efficiently from start to finish. We were thrilled with their work and would recommend the firm to anyone considering them.
Workflow of a Nonprofit Emergency
1. Assessment & Diagnoses Phase. Book an ER Session. We'll work with you to try to stabilize, create a plan of action or (if possible) resolve the situation in under 2 hours. Time is usually critical to the process.
2. Action Phase. We help you develop a plan in the ER Session. Often clients elect to have us help with the plan, helping you manage the situation and connect you with resources you need while things are still in “triage” mode. We strive to be highly responsive in this phase.
3. Retrospective Phase. After the smoke clears, things feel less urgent. Now let's look at what we can do to protect you going forward. We typically work with clients to implement changes that will prevent future costly issues and keep mission delivery front and center.